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Introducing Andrew Barnes, an innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has revolutionized industries through market-changing innovation and digitization. As the founder of Perpetual Guardian, he sparked a transformation in fiduciary and legal services, impacting both local and global landscapes. Notably, Andrew co-founded 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit advocating productivity-focused, reduced-hours workplaces. With a passion for sailing and an extensive business background, Andrew’s expertise spans governance, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and the four-day workweek.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [14:53] How the four-day workweek can improve productivity and well-being in the workplace
  • [17:46] The importance of creating a conducive environment for productivity
  • [26:14] The role of leadership in driving workplace innovation.
  • [30:41] How to make a four-day workweek sustainable in the long term
  • [34:16] The story behind Barnes’ journey to starting the four-day week movement
  • [37:34] The broader societal benefits of a four-day workweek, including more time for volunteering and family.
  • [39:15] The potential of a four-day workweek to reduce work-related stress and carbon emissions
  • [40:40] How the four-day week is gaining traction globally and the governments participating in the trials
  • [43:26] The relationship of the four-day week with business profitability and sustainability
  • [44:19] The concept of donut economics and its relevance to the four-day workweek

In this episode…

Are you ready to revolutionize the way we work and live? In this episode, join Andrew Barnes as he unveils the game-changing results of implementing a four-day workweek at Perpetual Guardian, addressing challenges, emphasizing leadership buy-in, and sustainability. The four-day workweek led to a 25% increase in productivity, a 15% reduction in stress levels, and a more engaged workforce with improved company culture.

He shares success stories from other companies, highlights the broader societal and economic impacts, and introduces the 4 Day Week Global campaign, promoting the widespread adoption of this innovative work model. Andrew Barnes envisions a future where the four-day week becomes a global norm, offering competitive advantages, and he passionately advocates for this transformation in our approach to work and economics.

Discover the transformative power of the four-day workweek as Andrew Barnes shares his journey and compelling results, supporting the 4 Day Week Global campaign for a more productive, engaged, and sustainable work culture. In this episode of Inspired Insider Podcast, we sit down with our host Dr. Jeremy Weisz and special guest Andrew Barnes, the driving force behind the 4 Day Week Global campaign. Tune in and get ready to embrace a more productive, fulfilling, and sustainable work culture!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Special Mention(s):

Related episode(s):

Quotable Moments:

  • “We’re conditioned to think that working longer is working harder.”
  • “The four-day work week is not a sprint, it’s about building something sustainable for the long term.”
  • “A four-day work week is like injecting billions into the economy.”
  • “You don’t get many chances to change the world. And really, this happens to be our chance.”

Sponsor for this episode

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We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.

Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01

You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host,

Jeremy Weisz 0:23

Dr. Jeremy Weisz. Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I’m with Andrew Barnes and we’ll be talking about Before I formally introduce you, Andrew, I always like to point out other episodes people should check out of the podcast, since this is you’re really innovators and disruptors, and that’s really what Andrew is doing, not just on a business level, but a societal level, which we’ll talk about. I had the co-founder of Pixar Alvy Ray Smith, talk about the innovations they had with first creating Toy Story. He told some great stories about Steve Jobs, George Lucas and starting Pixar, and the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, Nolan Bushnell, talked about some really interesting stories and founder of Zapier, Wade Foster, talks about kind of reinventing how automation solutions worked. So check out that many more on and this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25, we help businesses give to and connect to their Dream 100 partnerships and relationships. And how do we do that we actually help you run your podcasts. We’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast. We do accountability strategy and the full execution we call ourselves kind of the magic elves that work in the background and make sure everything looks easy from the companies and host standpoint. And you know, for me, Andrew, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships, I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire in this planet and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions go to And really I heard about Andrew and his organization and the 40 week through a guest and they were talking about how they were one of the pilots. And so I was like this is fascinating. And so Andrew Barnes is founder of Perpetual Guardian, and they’re specialists in providing Wills Trusts, enduring powers of attorney, they provide a full suite of estate planning services in New Zealand. They have offices nationwide with over 140,000 Will relationships administering or supervising assets valued over $150 billion. But in 2018, he made international headlines with an idea that he believed would raise productivity in the workplace. And this would also contribute to personal well being of the staff. Right? Win win for everyone. And that was a four day workweek. Not the Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Work Week, the four-day work week, and he announced a four-day week trial, you could watch the YouTube video of him announcing it. It’s fascinating, with the staff receiving an extra day of work on full pay each week. And the trial sparked a widespread international interest and won a number of global awards and Andrew is considered the pioneer and architect of the global four-day week movement. And he co founded it with Charlotte Lockhart, and they’re conducting the largest ever trials currently taking place in UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and more than 250 companies around the world over 100,000 staff are taking part in these trials, and even academics from universities like Boston College, Cambridge, Oxford, and many more. Andrew, thanks for joining me.

Andrew Barnes 3:40

Yeah, hi. Good to be here. Jeremy.

Jeremy Weisz 3:44

You know, the the journey started, right? You’re on a plane, you’re reading the economist and you read a study about productivity, you email your staff member, okay, that we’re going to try this out. They delete it, they delete the email. Why did they delete the email and talk about that?

Andrew Barnes 4:12

I’ll look, I’m dangerous on a plane. I’m very dangerous on the plane. Because that’s the time I used to have to think. And I used to get on flights from New Zealand to London and I would binge read The Economist, you know, and you because I’m binge reading it, I get to those articles you don’t normally get to. And that was one of the ones on productivity. And so when I sent it, it was I said, look at this great idea. We’ll have the staff working four days a week, and I probably haven’t explained it as well as I might. So she’s going oh my god, you know, pay cuts. We’re going to be renegotiating contracts. This is just horrible. But I know that I’m rube injury to the Economist. So if I delete it, I knew nothing about it, there is a fair chance he’s gonna forget about it. So, but unfortunately for her, I came back from the from the UK, I’d gone see my kids. I said, right. Okay, let’s, I really want to think this is a good idea. Every single leader in my organization, Agent it as an idea. What were their objections? Well, you know, that weren’t the one determined objections in a way that we are conditioned to think the working longer is working harder, we’re conditioned to a life where to get to the top of the tree we’ve had to put in in antisocial hours. And that’s the badge of honor that we’ve got. And then there’s a little bit of is working well for us now, why the blazes? Will we try something like this? Because if it goes wrong, I’m going to be blamed. And that’s actually probably one of the only legitimate argument, which is, you know, I don’t know how to do this, because I didn’t know how to do it either. So your leadership team needed to find a way to be secure about it to be comfortable about what we were trying to do. And I, you know, as I said, I’m dangerous. I just, I’m a bit of a spray and walk away guy have come in saying this is an idea, right? Tell me how you’re going to do it.

Jeremy Weisz 6:37

Something was compelling enough? Was it just you saw the research and you want to explore it? What was so compelling that you I mean, it’s it’s a pretty disruptive idea to go to big organization, and from the staff questions to the leadership and and everyone else?

Andrew Barnes 6:55

Well, actually, it was really, like, I always feel a fraud, people bring me on on these, you know, to talk about work life. And the better way of working May, I was just trying to work out how I made my company more productive. And what the articles prompted me to do was to start to think about a working day. And how much of a working day is productive, and how much is just busy, or downright, not busy nor productive. And what I was trying to think of is all of the things that get in the way of people being productive now that is interruptions. It’s other activities going on in the office, which are more interesting than the piece of work that you’re doing. It’s, you know, a plethora, often a very small things, you know, unnecessary meetings, a classic case in point. So, I basically did the back of the envelope calculation and said that if the three hours, two and a half to three hours, productivity was happening in companies around the world, in all likelihood, it was happening in my company. And if I could change behavior, I only had to find 45 minutes of additional productivity in each of four days. to sort of make up for the day off. And if I found an hour, then I’m ahead. Now that was very, very simple math. It was, I just thought, well, you know, why not try this? Let’s see if it works. And, you know, sort of the rest is history. What?

Jeremy Weisz 8:38

I’m curious on four days, right? Um, I forgot the exact definition of Parkinson’s Law. But it makes me think of Parkinson’s Law where the time expands to how much you know the tasks, or how much time we have, right? So you’re like, hey, we’ll shorten the time. You’ll get it done, right within amount of time. So I’m curious why four-day one, four and a half day, why not three day? How did you come to a four day?

Andrew Barnes 9:04

It just sounded good, right. I think everybody’s understood, you know, the set working seven days dropping six days, dropping to five days. And so it’s a lot was a logical reduction. Really was all I was looking at all I was looking to do. And you’re absolutely right. There’s another saying that if you leave things to the last minute, it only takes a minute for you to do it. You know, so there is an element in here that is about just putting a putting a line in the sand sticking something in and saying that’s a target. Let’s go and give this try and hence why. You know, we did the four-day week. It was nothing more than well, it’s a logical reduction. Let’s give it a go.

Jeremy Weisz 9:53

It seemed like when you heard about this, you didn’t really have much hesitation or fear as you wanted to implement it right away.

Andrew Barnes 10:04

I’d say that, but look, you know, I didn’t want to die wondering. Yeah, you got to be bold. And some of these things. I mean, I, I have seen, you know, from my own work experience, you know, the issues that I’d faced when I’d been younger, I had done quite a bit of work in the company as well on looking at unproductive time. So we had a fairly good handle on just how much was there. So it was just an experiment, right? It was, it was not a thing that I was sitting there saying, We’re locking ourselves into this, I thought, Well, look, why not just experiment, there’s nothing, nothing much to lose, I hedge my bets, I announced it over a period of time when it was going through the Easter period. So in effect in New Zealand, that meant we were already having about four weeks, when we were already having a public holiday off, and you didn’t get another day off. So it worked. Actually, I was on those weeks, I was not actually reducing time. But if it worked, I was actually improving productivity. So I had sought to hedge the bets through the process. But I just wanted to give it a go. That’s why I knew with the resistance that we add, you know, my my board hated it. I had private capital on board. So I announced it first on national television. And then you know, everybody felt obligated at least to give it a go.

Jeremy Weisz 11:47

You’ve taken at this point, a bunch of companies through the pilot, I remember someone asking when you announced it to your company. Is this going to be I forgot if they said this is going to be documented or researched. And at the time, it was like no, we’re just trying it out. Now it is. How do you How did you track at that point, if it worked? And then I’m sure it’s changed a little bit about how the company is now track if it worked?

Andrew Barnes 12:14

Well look, of course, I would like to say that I was a far sighted business leader and I worked out very quickly that we were going to have to put in place a rigorous academic framework about measuring product.

Jeremy Weisz 12:30

Your archaeology background, I got it.

Andrew Barnes 12:32

Yeah. What actually happened is what one of an academic at Auckland University of Technology, saw it on the telly, I think, and then reached out and said, Look, I would like I’m doing some research and related field. I would like to study this. And I thought, well, that’s actually quite a good idea. We’ll get some objective measurement. We then brought in Auckland University’s business school to do some qualitative stuff, as well. And that really, so we flipped the framework. I mean, let’s not overplay we actually flipped it. We, we weren’t intending to have research. But the research then gave us fantastic credibility with both the board, but an ability at the as we went through the trial, and at the end of the trial, to actually identify probably for the first time, almost anywhere in the world. What happened when you dropped a day, and you changed working buttons. So what happened? Well, our productivity went up 25%, our stress levels dropped 15%. More people said they were better able to do their job working four days rather than five. And all of those engagement, schools engagement, empowerment, enrichment, enthusiasm, those scores went up 40% to the levels, the researchers said are the highest they’ve ever seen in New Zealand. And I’ll set days half. So, and I would say, you know, Perpetual Guardian is without exception, arguably one of the dullest companies in New Zealand. You know, we’re a Trust Company. Nobody gets up in the morning and says, I want to work for a Trust Company. You know it, you stumble across it, if we’re being honest. But suddenly we had a crowd of people wanting to join the company. And they want to join the company because it’s not what we do. It’s what the four-day week said about us as an organization, being you know, progressive forward thinking, you know, challenging the status quo.

Jeremy Weisz 14:53

How are they measuring? I don’t know objectively or subjectively the productivity

Andrew Barnes 15:00

I love this question. Can I tell you Jeremy, it’s the number one question we get asked how do you measure productivity? How are you measuring productivity? And of course, the answer comes back. Actually, we’re not right, we use time as a surrogate for productivity. We weren’t measuring productivity either. Really. I mean, we were doing some measurements around time. But again, that was time. So the first thing we did was that we sat everybody down. And we said, how can you prove to us that your productivity the things that you do on a weekly basis? How can we prove that that’s not being adversely impacted? And secondly, how should we measure you. And so what happens in that process is that we built a series of business measurement matrices in a way. But you know, what was more important was not how we measured it, it was that the challenge meant that the staff started to look at their own week, and what they did and their own work, and said, actually, that is not a productive activity that is getting in the way of me being productive. So we got far more from them saying, If we change this, I will be more productive. Now that the classic example and we’ve, we, you know, we talk about it now, as deep work was having a quiet hour, you know, you have an hour, put a flag in a pot, no one will disturb you for an hour. And statistically, you get interrupted once every 11 minutes, 22 minutes to get back to full productivity. So if you have a quiet hours, once a day, four days a week, that’s broadly the equivalent of three hours of norm, more productivity, in each of four days, there is your four day a week improvement, right there, you know, reduce your meeting lengths. You’re doing it again, right? So what happens with this is it’s the small hacks, it’s not a big process reengineering. It’s lots and lots of small acts driven by the people in your organization that enable them to get an ultimate prize of more time off. Very, very, very simple.